“Everything You Wanted” – Petshop of Horrors (manga) – 9/10 Black Cats


Somewhere between chance and mystery lies imagination, the only thing that protects our freedom, despite the fact that people keep trying to reduce it or kill it off altogether. ~Luis Buñuel

Mangaka: Matsuri Akino

Genre: Comedy/Supernatural/Fantasy/Horror

Review Status: Complete (10 Volumes/10 Volumes)

Licensed: Formerly licensed by Tokyopop, currently unlicensed.

Art: It has a 90’s feel to it, but has aged better than its contemporaries. It overall has a rough feel to it, but isn’t too shabby.

Summary: A smoke-filled alley in Chinatown harbors Count D’s Pet Shop. The pets sold here aren’t your everyday variety and the Count prides himself on selling Love and Dreams in the form of magical creatures that come with an exclusive contract. But buyers beware. If the contract is broken the Count cannot be held accountable for whatever may happen. A fascinating and macabre look into the very soul of human nature. (Source: Tokyopop)

Review: The saying is ‘be careful what you wish for, you just might get it’. Count D’s shop is all about fulfilling wishes and dreams- at a price. Whether it’s the promise of cake or something to be gathered later, “D” gives warning to those who buy his pets that things can happen if they don’t follow his instructions- so humans ignore his instructions at their own risk, and often pay the ultimate price.

There’s a policeman onto D – the name he gives himself since he’s not actually the count, just his grandson- and Leon Orcott, member of the NYPD, isn’t going to give an inch! The reader gets to see him as he investigates the strange deaths that are connected with the shop, and is either thrown off the trail or left with nothing to book D on. That interplay is always hilarious. Hardened cop vs sugar-addict prettyboy! D is as wily as Leon is thick, and they make quite a duo as they argue and deal with one another, eventually becoming friends. Chris, a character that’s introduced a little into the series, makes an interesting in-between. Able to see the truth of the shop, but too young and unassuming to really make much of it, he can be as baffled as his older brother when it comes to what is going on.

The cases themselves range from creepy to hilarious. From the mermaid that is the spitting image of a dead bride, to trying to hatch a dragon, all manner of amazing creatures of myth and legend are contained within these pages. Often I was grateful for the pages in the back that explained the origin and tales of them, as they were from Eastern folklore that isn’t heard of much in the West. These stories manages to bring in character development and strengthen the bond between the three as Leon becomes less suspicious of the Count, knowing that there were odd creatures and things happening, but later unable to believe D really has much to do with them.

It’s a great manga up until the last volume. There was a definite environmental message that popped up from time to time, but it was never really overbearing or preachy- not until the last two volumes or so. That was where things got really odd and eye-rolling. Cloning, spiritual memory inheritance, and someone threatening to destroy all humankind because of the damage they were doing were involved.

Thankfully, D’s escape from the FBI holds up to the rest story, and the last few pages really made me smile.

Overall, while the ending didn’t quite hold up to the promise of the rest of the manga, this is definitely worth the read.

Recommended: 18+. The F-bomb is dropped a few times per volume, as well as a variety of other swears. It’s not every line, and since most of it comes from Leon and thugs, it feels as offensive as the average cop movie. There are occasional glimpses of boobs- Leon’s room happens to be decorated with half-nude posters of women, and you see it once or twice. What appears to be Count D about to have sex with a man turns out to be him attempting to lure a mythological creature (in disguise) to join his pet shop. He states that another man is bisexual, but not gay.

Other titles you might enjoy:

xxxHolic (anime and manga)
The Tarot Café (manga)
Nightmare Inspector (manga)

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